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Darth Vader on trial: Chilean court convicts Star Wars Sith lord

Darth Vader appears before the Valparaiso Court of Appeal in Chile on Heritage Day - 28 May 2023
Darth Vader appears before the Valparaiso Court of Appeal in Chile on Heritage Day - 28 May 2023 Copyright Rafael Arancibia/ AFP
Copyright Rafael Arancibia/ AFP
By David Mouriquand
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The cult villain of the Star Wars saga appeared before the Valparaiso Court of Appeal in Chile, during a mock trial organized on Heritage Day.

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Well about damn time!

120 kilometres west of the Chilean capital Santiago, the Valparaiso Court of Appeal has issued its decision against the defendant, a certain Mr. Anakin Skywalker, aka: Darth Vader, the most famous asthmatic villain in all of cinema history and arguably the most problematic father figure alongside the likes of The Shining ’s Jack Torrance, Chinatown ’s Noah Cross and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me ’s Leland Palmer.

A misunderstood villain, perhaps, as the galaxy’s foremost choking hazard just wanted his son to join the family business, but justice must be served.

The verdict of the mock trial?

For the mutilation of his son Luke in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Vader has been slapped by the Valparaiso Court with a freezing in carbonite and a restraining order.

In the “trial”, it was established that “what is condemned is mutilation (…) and not what Mr. Vader has done before.”

Not sure what the good people of Alderaan would make of that last part, but they're all dead, so let’s proceed.

“Taking into account the penalties established in the spatial penal code (…), Vader is about to be sentenced to the proper penalty, which is to remain frozen for 30 years in carbonite, to be forbidden to approach the victim, Luke, for 30 years, at least three planets away,” the court ruled.

Additionally, Vader was completely and perpetually forbidden to use the force and his lightsaber, thus putting an end of to his Sith-kebabing days.

In the defence of his client, Darth Vader’s defence attorney, Juan Carlos Manriquez said that he asked “only for nothing more and nothing less than justice“.

“He is a human being with rights, even if only in part. (…) He is almost a machine, but he is also a man. He is a father.”

Not sure cutting your son’s hand clean off qualifies you as Dad of the Year, but sure, he does remain a father. Quite why the defence didn’t invoke the fact that Vader’s crimes happened “a long time ago” – thereby are subject to a statute of limitation – and that the courts of Valparaíso do not have jurisdiction on what happened “in a galaxy far, far away”, is beyond us.

The mock trial was used as an educational exercise to show citizens how institutions work and thus get closer to them.

“What we wanted to do today is to bring justice, which is so little known, closer to the public. So that they can see what is done in a Court of Appeal, because people know a lot about trials and tribunals, but not the function they takes place here, ” explained the president of the Court of Appeal, María del Rosario Lavín.

During Heritage Day (28 May), institutions, museums and organizations from all over the country, including the La Moneda presidential palace, opened their doors free of charge to the public to better share their heritage with the community.

Video editor • Theo Farrant

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